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Fellow USC product compares himself to Steelers Troy Polamalu

USC safety Dion Bailey says skill set is similar to fellow Trojan.


USC junior safety Dion Bailey compared his style of play to that of Troy Polamalu.

He soon may get the chance to find out how similar.

In an interview with, Bailey talked about Polamalu, switching positions in the middle of his college career, and his experiences with another former Steelers safety, Carnell Lake.

"Coach Lake, he recruited me when he was the DB coach at UCLA when I was coming out," Bailey said in the interview. "Me and him have a very strong relationship. Then he was at pro day last year. He led the DB drills, so I talked to him for about an hour and he was giving me advice about what to expect making the transition (to safety) and what I needed to do. It's going to be fun to catch up with him."

Bailey had a similar career to Polamalu's at USC. Anyone who watched Pittsburgh last season noticed Polamalu essentially morph into another linebacker. Like Polamalu, Bailey also played linebacker his first two seasons at USC before transitioning to safety.

He recorded 223 tackles in three years with the Trojans. In his first season at safety in 2013, Bailey racked up five interceptions while defending six other passes and totaling 62 tackles.

"(Playing linebacker) definitely helped me read the offensive linemen, read run and pass," Bailey said. "I learned how to read the triangle play at linebacker so now in the back end, I have the ability to read high hat, low hat on the offensive linemen. I wasn't one to get fooled on play-action as much as others do because of my experience in the box. I gained a lot more experience to avoid getting blocked by big guys. I feel like that really helped my game playing screens and things like that."

Polamalu and Bailey are also similar in size. The 5'10 Polamalu gives up two inches in height but is five pounds heavier at 207 lbs.

"I feel like my game resembles Troy Polamalu's game very well," Bailey said. "He went through the same transition in college as me, playing linebacker his first couple years and then playing safety. He transitioned to the NFL really well. I'm hoping I have the same career."

Bailey, who already earned his degree in policy, planning and development, earned Second-Team All Pac-12 honors last season. He is projected as a fourth round pick in this year's NFL Draft.